Last week, we shared a great series of modular summer residences by Visiondivision that ranged from a small cabin to a massive castle. In the meantime, the firm has also been working on a competition proposal to replace a church in Våler, a small Norwegian town, after a devastating fire. For a firm that typically takes a standard design approach and then reinvents it or inverts it to form a completely new paradigm, we were impressed by their ability to bring a simplistic elegance to this religious structure.
More about the church after the break.
Våler’s church served as a local landmark and main gathering space for the people of the town, and its absence has left a void in their small village. “You can be positive about the new opportunity that has occurred; that a new church will be built and that the village will get a much-needed addition to their identity,” explained Visiondivision.
The church is organized around a tranquil courtyard, with the main religious volume on the southern edge, and a multifunctional/service edge along the north. The courtyard has a water mirror that catches almost all the drainage from the building, and creates a small waterfall when it rains.
The church enjoys the traditional nave layout – with a small twist – as the room can easily be divided for smaller gatherings. “The idea is that although there is a small gathering, you still will experience the finest room,” explained the firm. Different wood floors cover the spaces, and their designs become more intricate for more “impressive rooms”, for instance, the tower room has wide planks that follow the natural tree trunk angle and forming a radiating pattern from the center of the room.
The most dominant feature of the design is the church’s tower – a soaring steeple that has the potential to outdo Scandinavia’s tallest church – which is 118.7 meters tall – if the budget allows. The tower has small perforations that allow light to illuminate the altar and also functions as a beacon of light in the evening.
“With a relatively simple approach, Våler municipality can boast a building that will revitalize the municipality and frame the many fond memories of the inhabitants of Våler,” added the firm.